Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/210

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

remarkably flat plain crossed by rivers running at right angles to the mountain ranges as they pursue their easterly course to the Grand Canal or Yellow Sea.

From north to south the province is about 460 English miles in length, from east to west 430 miles.

Previous to the construction of the Ching-han railway, Honan had three connections of commercial importance.

(1) South-east from the mart of Chowkiakow there is a continuous waterway viâ the Sha and Hwai rivers, the Hungtse lakes, and Grand Canal to Chinkiang on the Yangtse.

(2) South-west from the mart of Shae-k'i-tien there is water connection viâ the T'ang river, which unites with the Peh Ho and flows into the Han, thus bringing the province into connection with Hankow and the Yangtse valley. The T'ang and Peh rivers are navigable for small boats all the year round.

(3) North of the Yellow River the important mart of Taokow is connected with Tientsin by means of the Wei river. Taokow is 400 miles (1200 li) distant from Tientsin.

The importance of these water communications will be appreciated when the cost of freight by land and water is compared, that by land being from "twenty to forty times as high as the usual standard on those rivers which are easily navigable."[1]

Roads from these three centres cross the province and unite at Honan Fu to form the main trunk road to the north-western provinces of China, which main road is passable for carts at least as far as Suchow Fu, far in the north of Kansu, 1170 miles (3500 li) distant from Honan Fu.

Baron Richthofen called Honan Fu "the Gate to the North-Western Provinces and Central Asia," and he pointed out the importance of railway communication at such a spot. A railway is now under process of construction from Kaifeng Fu to Honan Fu, crossing the main Hankow-Pekin (Ching-han) line at Chengchow, thus bringing this

  1. Baron Richthofen.